26 July 2005 - A Tale of Two Labels
Label #2: Bishop's Peak "Rock Solid Red" '03, Paso Robles -- Blend of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Petite Sirah/Cabernet Franc from Talley Vineyards (San Luis Obispo).
I tasted these two yesterday, almost back to back, although brought by two different distributors. Label #1, the Big Yellow Cab, is cute -- I mean, I love New York and I remember riding in big yellow cabs and all. The wine is actually ok, but nothing special for the price, and not especially identifiable as Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon. I was left thinking "this'll look great in a great big floor stack in a discount liquor store." For Mendocino Wine Group, mission accomplished. For me, no thanks. I want fun labels that lead to even more fun once they're opened.
A few moments later I tasted label #2, an unusual blend from incredibly hot (temperature-wise) Paso Robles. "Rock Solid Red" is a bold looking label with a screwtop and a name that fits the wine perfectly. The blend of Cabernets (Sauvignon and Franc), Syrah and Petite Sirah is indeed rock solid, loaded with flavor and character and perfectly balanced -- a real, pleasant, surprise. Bishop's Peak is the old volcano on the eastern edge of San Luis Obispo, one of the "seven sisters" chain of mountains that serve to define the whole region. More truth in labeling. Price? Same as label #1. Fun label, terrific wine inside -- now that's what I'm talking about.